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Full text of "A history of Persia"

146                   HISTORY OF PERSIA                  CHAP.
and to the south of Lake Baikal. They spent their lives,
like other nomads, in breeding cattle and horses and in
raiding, and owed allegiance to the dynasty of northern
China, which, albeit derived from similar stock, regarded
these wild tribesmen with contempt. That they stood
very low in the scale of civilization is shown by the words
of Ibn-ul-Athir, one of D'Ohsson's chief authorities :
"As for their religion, they worship the sun when it
arises, and regard nothing as unlawful, for they eat all
beasts, even dogs, pigs, and the like."
In the main Carpini and Rubruquis,1 whose missions
will be referred to later on, corroborate this testimony to
their evil traits, but give credit for splendid discipline,
bravery, and endurance : the Mongols' archery and horse-
manship, too, were superb. Their arrogance after their
conquests, like that of the Arabs, was unbounded. We
read in Russian history that the princes of the country
were bound to attend the Mongol Khans whenever
ordered, and among other humiliations were forced to
lick up any drops which fell from the Khan's cup as he
drank ! Their filthiness was abominable, washing being
unknown, and it is related of Chengiz that he would not
allow the word " dirty " to be used. When travelling in
Ladakh some twenty-five years ago, I was informed that
a rare sun-bath on the roof for the children was the only
form of cleansing the body practised there. In Central
Asia and Persia, where the Mongols are all Moslems,
they are still a dirty race, but the evil is mitigated by the
strictness of the rules of Islam on the subject of ablution.
The true Mongols have almond-shaped eyes; they are
beardless and generally short in stature, but a virile race,
and, though clumsy-looking on foot, are born riders.
At the same time, in the struggle for wealth they rarely suc-
ceed at the present day against the more astute Persians,
and in Khprasan, at any rate, they occupy much the same
position as the Italians and Eastern Europeans in America.
Yhsugay^ the Father of Chengiz Khan.—The ancestors
of Chengiz Khan are lost in the mists of legend, but
1 Carftni and Ritbruquis, edited -by Dr. Raymond Beazley; and The Journey of Friar
William ofRubntck, edited by W. W. Rockhill (both for ,the Hakluyt Society).